The Sun recently ran an opinion piece with the headline, ‘Could Congress attack happen in Britain? It could with our Leftie mob’. Unable to help himself, Ian Austin ran the usual sun talking points, pointing fingers at Black Lives Matter and Momentum.
I could talk about how the Black Lives Matter protests in the UK were peaceful, with the only violent incident occurring when a police officer initiated it. I could laugh at the lack of relevance Momentum has in this conversation, but it’s more interesting to consider why this headline exists in the first place.
We have here two imports from the US, one which took place, and one that is tabloid speculation. In the first instance, the murder of George Flloyd in the US, and the particulars of their institutional racism, sparked enough fury in the UK that protests against our institutions formed in solidarity with American protesters.
Admittedly, that seems pretty odd, doesn’t it? What can protesting in the UK do to resolve issues in the US?
The BBC cites a few reasons — an event close to the time in which a father was tasered in front of his son; the fact UK police were 3 times more likely to arrest a black person than a white person, and 5 times more likely to use force. An often-cited reason at the time was the way black people are four times more likely to die due to treatment from COVID-19.
To put it simply, when black Britons heard about the terrible incident across the pond, it resurfaced a lot of the pain that they were feeling at the time, and the emotions that the story brought them drove them to action.
The assault on Capitol Hill, on the contrary, has no comparable spark in the UK. The American incident was provoked by the President of the United States and his repeated insinuation or outright fabrication that an election had been stolen from him.
The last nationwide UK election was in December 2019, and the left took a beating. If that was not the time that they would hypothetically plot an insurrection, when is it?
Perhaps Mr Austin believes that, like with Black Lives Matter, the left will follow the lead of the USA. But what common ground does the left in the UK share with the far-right, white supremacist insurgents in the US? Nothing comes to mind.
Despite one side of the political aisle living much deeper in a land of imagination than the other, it is curious the cultural desire across political boundaries for the UK to adopt a political and media culture which replicates that of the United States.
Most obvious seems to be our tightly knitted history, with America as a former colony that has now overtaken the UK economically, perhaps Brits have adopted a view that if you can’t beat them, join them? We have a Prime Minister who spent much of his childhood in the United States, and bears striking similarities ideologically and even physically to the current President of the United States. Perhaps it is that, as an island nation with the EU to our east and the Americas to our west, we naturally gravitate to English speaking lands for common culture?
Perhaps it’s even that our politics is relatively boring compared to the US? While we decided to shoot ourselves in the foot for four years by leaving the worlds largest trade block, the United States decided, perhaps for the fun of it, to vote for a president who suggested nuking hurricanes. Just as we import Hollywood movies, maybe we just want to import a bit of the spice from their politics into ours?
Until a political scientist decides to look into it, we are left but with speculation. In either case, it is recklessly dangerous for the Sun, notorious for its far-right readership, to hypothesis a copycat of the Capitol Hill insurrection in any circumstance.The Import of News and Culture from America to the UK
The Sun recently ran an opinion piece with the headline, ‘Could Congress attack happen in Britain? It could with our Leftie mob’. Unable to help himself, Ian Austin ran the usual sun talking points, pointing fingers at Black Lives Matter and Momentum.The Import of News and Culture from America to the UK.